AN INDEPENDENT COST ASSESSMENT OF THE NATION'S HIGH-LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE PROGRAM

 
February
1998

By          
 
PLANNING INFORMATION CORPORATION
THOMPSON PROFESSIONAL GROUP
DECISION RESEARCH INSTITUTE

 

REFERENCES


1. Executive Summary

  1. DOE estimates have been adjusted for changes in the inventory requiring permanent disposal, as well as changes in the value of the dollar.

2. The Results, Uncertainties and Implications of The Independent Cost Assessment

  1. See USGAO: "Department of Energy: Opportunity to Improve Management of Major System Acquisitions" (GAO/RCED-97-17), November 1996.
  2. "Nuclear Waste: Changes Needed in DOE User-Fee Assessments to Avoid Funding Shortfall," U.S. GAO, June 1990 (GAO/RCED-90-65).
  3. For example, the Nuclear Energy Institute's 1997 assessment of the costs of extended at-reactor dry storage and the 1997 Public Citizen analysis of on-site storage costs.
  4. Purchased by the DOE Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management as containers for onsite storage (and transportation, emplacement) of HLW; costs not included in estimates for the DOE/OCRWM program.
  5. Some studies suggest that the repository might be "ventilated" that is—not closed or decommissioned, but continued in caretaker operation into the 22nd century and beyond.
  6. Greater-than-class-c low-level wastes, much of which is expected to be generated in the decommissioning of nuclear reactors.
  7. Paragraph B of NWPA Section 302(a)(5) says that "in return for payment of fees," DOE will dispose of commercial spent nuclear fuel, beginning not later than January 31, 1998.
  8. For example, cristobalite dust detected in 1996 in the original five-mile ESF was found to exceed OSHA limits and required respirators to worn by all personnel, thus reducing productivity.
  9. "The 1.0 mil per KWh fee revenue used in this analysis was derived from the no-new-orders end of reactor life projection of net electricity generation prepared in 1994 by the EIA. It is assumed in this projection that commercial units will operate for 40 years from the issuance of their operating licenses without extension, reactor performance will not be affected by aging, and the equilibrium-cycle capacity factor will increase slightly from 74 percent in 1995 through 2014 to between 75 and 76 percent until 2034." DOE/RW-0490, pg. 5.
  10. Nuclear Waste Fund Fee Adequacy: an Assessment (October 1996) DOE/RW-0490; Analysis of the Total System Life Cycle Cost (September 1995) DOE/RW-0479. The fee adequacy assessment (pg 11) estimates that the fund balance at the end of FY'94, plus projected income from fee payments and investments, will generate $22.8 billion ($24.1 billion in FY'96 dollars), sufficient to offset the civilian share of TSLCC as estimated by DOE in September 1995. DOE's September 1995 analysis of TSLCC (pg 39) estimates the civilian share at $26.6 billion ($28.1 billion in FY ‘96 dollars). Our discussion assumes that the fund will generate the higher figure—noting, however, that higher estimates of annual costs would draw down the fund balance more rapidly than assumed in DOE's fee adequacy assessment, thus reducing investment income to the NWF.
  11. As mentioned, the Nuclear Waste Fund (and the one-mil per kilowatt hour fee) created by the Nuclear Waste Policy Act (Section 302) was intended to pay for the disposal of only those wastes generated in the production of commercial nuclear power. The independent assessment estimated the costs attributable to commercial SNF, distinguishing these from the costs attributable to DOE SNF and HLW. Comparing the costs attributable to commercial SNF ($43.5 billion, FY'96$) against DOE's estimate of revenues generated in the Nuclear Waste Fund ($28.1 billion, FY'96$), we estimate a shortfall of $15.4 billion—that is, expenses attributable to commercial SNF that will not be met by the Nuclear Waste Fund as currently constituted. The $43.5 billion estimate of costs attributable to commercial SNF is 80.68 percent of projected costs (see Appendix D), plus a like percentage of actual expenditures through FY 1996 (see Appendix B).
  12. USGAO: "Nuclear Waste: Changes Needed in DOE User-Fee Assessments to Avoid Funding Shortfall" (GAO/RCED-90-95, June 7, 1990).
  13. USGAO: "Department of Energy: Opportunity to Improve Management of Major System Acquisitions" (GAO/RCED-97-17, November 1996).

3. The Independent Cost Analysis: Waste Inventory, Waste Management Assumptions, Cost Analysis Procedures

  1. Beginning in 2015, according to assumptions used in DOE's September 1995 TSLCC (pg. 8) and in this assessment.
  2. Spent Fuel Storage Requirements 1994-2042 DOE/RW-0431, June 1995.
  3. Along with SNF stored at the General Electric Facility at Morris (IL).
  4. It also includes very small amounts of spent fuel discharged from DOE research reactors which is included in DOE's acceptance priority rankings.
  5. E.g., Clinton, Cooper Station, Duane Arnold, Fitzpatrick, Monticello, Vermont Yankee.
  6. DOE TSLCC 9/95, pg. 8.
  7. DOE IDB December 1996 pp. 50-51. The estimate increased from 13,789 in IDB September 1995, pp 64-65.
  8. An important uncertainty is whether Yucca Mountain can be shown to have the capacity to safely emplace SNF and HLW in such volume.
  9. E.g., DOE TSLCC May 1989 Tables A-3&4 (two-repository system).
  10. SNF: 85,861 MTU projected inventory - 62,907 MTU in first repository = 22,954 MTU HLW: 48,077 MTU projected inventory - 7,093 MTU in first repository = 40,984 MTU 19,234 canisters times estimated MTU per canister at Hanford, Savannah River, INEEL and West Valley = 48,077 MTU vitrified HLW.
  11. DOE 9/95 TSLCC, pg. 8.
  12. The NWF obligation for these costs is based on the projected inventory at each site compared to the projected inventory had DOE pickup begun in 1998 and proceeded at S-104 rates.
  13. By comparison, in DOE's September 1995 estimate of TSLCC, contingency comprises 14.1 percent of total projected costs and 18.6 percent of "base" costs.
  14. Contracted emergency response is included for two incidents (not involving releases or fatalities) in heavy-haul operations (master code 3.2) and nine incidents in rail spur operations (master code 3.3).
  15. As described in the "standard contract" (10 CFR 961).
  16. Some SNF may not have been discharged from reactors. Shutdown at Comanche Peak 2, for example, is scheduled for February 2033. The study assumes that the final discharges from Comanche Peak, Limerick 2 and Vogtle 2 are available for pickup in year 30, and do not require a hiatus in a shipment campaign which proceeds at S-104 rates.
  17. Multiple sites, grouped as four for this assessment.
  18. The Transportation of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Waste, NV NWPO, July 1996, pg 39.
  19. Hope Creek and Salem reactors (owned by Public Service Electric and Gas Company) were combined as a single storage/shipment site. Fitzpatrick (owned by the Port Authority of New York) and Nine Mile Point (owned by Niagara Mohawk Power) were combined as a single storage/shipment site.
  20. The Transportation of SNF and HLW: A Systematic Basis for Planning and Management at National, Regional and Community Levels (July 1996), Nevada NWPO.
  21. As specified in Senate Bill 104.
  22. Two groups of five states are assumed to be affected to a greater degree than the remaining 30.
  23. Civilian Radioactive Waste Management Program: Funding Requirements (FY 1997-FY 2002), Table 3.

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